Volume 19 #1
Jesse is a quirky little guy. When I’m with him I have to stifle my desire to laugh so as not to disturb his antics. He’s not meaning to be so funny – he’s just being Jesse. He brings us pure delight when he comes to the church.
Club had just ended and we were beginning to take kids home. We have to do this in shifts and Jesse loves to be one of the last kids to go. Most of the remaining kids were jumping rope or playing board games with the volunteers. But not Jesse. He wandered off by himself to one corner of the room. He faced the wall and gently walked into it. Then he dramatically fell to the ground. This was followed by contagious laughter. Jesse was deeply amused by his own clowning around. Then he got up and did it again…and again. He wasn’t trying to impress anyone – he did it all for himself. As he rolled around the floor giggling all I could think of was one word. Joy.
Jesse sees the world with wide eyes and wonder. A few weeks ago we were learning John 1:12 and what it means to be a child of God. Jesse sat down at the table and began to draw a picture. With a black marker he sketched two stick figures sharing a bowl of soup. He carefully added a couple speech bubbles. One said, “Thank you!” while the other stickman replied, “You’re welcome!” He then stopped and looked at his picture. He scrunched up his forehead and set the marker to the paper again. In the top corner he added a head (no body!) and the words “Good boy!”
“What’s that?” I asked him, pointing to the head in the corner.
“A.B.” said Jesse as he added more details to his stickmen, “That’s God. He saw me sharing with my friend and He looks down and he says, ‘Good boy Jesse….good boy.’”
I took a step back and smiled. Jesse knew something about God that most of us struggle to grasp. He just illustrated John 1:12.
Yet to all who received him,
to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God –
Knowing God changes us – it makes us share our soup. It also gives us the ability and amazingly – the right – to believe the impossible: God is our Father. We are sons and daughters of the Redeemer of the world. Not because we’re lucky but because it is our right. How can this be? Only through the cross could we who deserve nothing end up being worthy of this.
We are children of God! Marvel at that. Think of the father that pats his boy on the head after a lost ball game and says, “Good boy, son, good boy.” The goodness isn’t in the son – he just lost the game. The goodness is in the father who loves the son.
And isn’t that what we all long for? For the light of God’s gracious gaze to wash out our fears and failings? We want to hear “good boy” or “good girl” at the end of each day – not because we’re perfect or have done everything we could have or should have…but because our Father is God. The good in “good boy” is a nod to Him. God is the very definition of goodness. When we cling to Him we reflect His character.
May we all rest today in the knowledge that we are His.
* all names and identifying details have been changed to protect anonymity. © Amy Beth Barlow